Having beaten three of the world’s top four players en route to the Madrid title, 19-year-old Spanish sensation Carlos Alcaraz is drawing new comparisons with some of the greatest players in men’s tennis history.
Former world No. 1 Andy Roddick said Alcaraz were “joint favourites” with 13-time Roland Garros winner Rafael Nadal at the French Open, while four-time Major champion Jim Courier said Alcaraz would end his career with double-digit majors. .
“I put him as a co-favourite, and I can’t believe I’m saying that in a three-out-of-five tournament at Roland Garros, but that’s how I feel,” Roddick told Tennis Channel on Sunday. in response to a question from host Brett Haber.
Alcaraz, who will move up to world No. 6 on Monday, improved to 28-3 this season and won four titles, including their first Masters 1000 crown in Miami.
He has now beaten the world No.1 (Novak Djokovic), No.3 (Alexander Zverev) and No.4 (Nadal) players in the span of three days. On Saturday, he became the first man to beat Nadal and Djokovic in the same event on clay.
“I think I’m ready to win a Grand Slam”, Alcaraz said. “It’s my goal for the year. I’ll work for it and let’s see what happens at Roland-Garros.
Alcaraz reached the third round at Roland Garros in 2021. His only appearance in the second week of a major came when he reached the quarter-finals of the US Open, when he beat Félix Auger-Aliassime 6-3, 3-1 after injuring his leg.
Roddick says Alcaraz is a different physical player now, and it looks like he’ll be a major threat in best-of-five matches.
“Yeah, he landed in Australia this year…and he was a different-looking human, he got to work,” Roddick said.
He then pointed to the fact that Alcaraz spent almost six hours on the pitch in back-to-back wins over Nadal and Djokovic, then came back and destroyed Zverev, 6-3, 6-1 in Sunday’s final.
“I’m not worried about this kid’s body over the two weeks and I don’t think he’s going to lay down in the early laps with his form as it is right now,” Roddick said.
As for the long term, Courier thinks Alcaraz will finish with double-digit majors. something that only a handful of male players in history have accomplished.
Nadal is the all-time leader with 21 Grand Slams, while Djokovic and Roger Federer are currently tied at 20.
“I think Alcaraz, if healthy, is definitely a double-digit guy,” Courier said.
“I’m not sure anyone else below the ‘Big 3′ is, we’ll find out,” he added. “I don’t know if we should expect 20, but I think the double digits are well within Carlos’ reach.”